From words to action: Implementation of new EU-Africa plan on migration discussed by 55 countries

RSS - Press Release


PORTO AND BRUSSELS, 1 December 2015 - Senior officials and experts from European and African countries will convene in Porto, Portugal, for two important meetings: they will first discuss the follow-up, monitoring and implementation of the recent Valletta Summit on migration and assess how the well-established ‘Rabat Process’, a cooperation framework between the EU, North, West and Central Africa, can contribute to an effective follow-up. Then the partners from both regions will agree on measures to fight migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings.

“A coherent and comprehensive set of policies is essential. However this is not sufficient: What we also need is ‘delivery coherence’.” Lukas Gehrke, Director Southern Dimension at ICMPD, who attended the Valletta Summit back in November, underlined before this meeting.

Senior officials will convene on 2 December under the co-presidency of Portugal and Mali, who have recently become members of the Steering Committee of the Dialogue.

Moving from policy to practice, the main objective of the meeting in Porto is to agree on a calendar, methodology and specific actions for the implementation of the plan agreed by Heads of States in Valletta, while taking into account the ‘Rome programme’ and declaration that defines the policy framework of the Rabat Process. Delegations will also debate a comprehensive monitoring plan to track progress: the Porto Monitoring Plan.

On 3-4 December, experts will engage in discussions on combatting trafficking and smuggling under the co-presidency of Portugal and Niger. Representatives from Africa and the EU are expected to identify concrete initiatives that could enhance regional cooperation on these issues as of next year. Immediate action could focus on setting up comprehensive criminal justice response to smuggling or developing better identification and referral mechanisms for victims of trafficking.

The meeting in Porto is part of the intergovernmental ‘Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development’, also called ‘the Rabat Process’. The Porto Senior Officials Meeting is essential to involving all states participating in the 4th phase of the Rabat Process, which is characterised by the practical implementation of the ‘Rome Programme’, agreed in 2014, through targeted actions.

Ever since joining the steering group of the Rabat Process, Portugal has been actively contributing to foster the implementation of the dialogue on the priority axes.

ICMPD facilitates this dialogue between Africa and Europe and supports the implementation of concrete projects. Portugal is a member state of ICMPD since 13 years and has chaired its Steering Group in 2009.




The Valletta Summit on migration took place on 11-12 November and was hosted by the European Council. It was the first meeting between African and EU leaders exclusively focusing on migration.

Leaders adopted as political declaration and an action plan, focusing on 5 priority areas: root causes of irregular migration, legal migration, international protection and asylum, trafficking of migrants as well as cooperation on return and readmission.


The Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, also called ‘Rabat Process’ brings together governments of almost 60 European and African countries. It established a solid and fruitful comprehensive dialogue between all involved partners, and has fostered enhanced cooperation through the implementation of concrete projects, e.g border management or diaspora related-issues.

The dialogue started in 2006 and is now in its 4th phase Countries from Europe, North, West and Central Africa, as well as the European Commission (EC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) participate in this dialogue.

The Rome Programme, agreed in 2014, took the Rabat Process' balanced approach to migration one step further by introducing international protection as the fourth pillar structuring the dialogue:

  • organising mobility and legal migration (pillar 1)
  • improving border management and combating irregular migration (pillar 2
  • strengthening the synergies between migration and development (pillar 3)
  • promoting international protection (pillar 4).

To facilitate the discussions in the Rabat Process and to ensure the implementation of agreed upon measures through concrete initiatives, the European Union is financing a support project, implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

: The evolution of the Rabat Process 2006-2014



The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) has been a facilitator of EU-Africa dialogue and cooperation on migration and mobility. It will implement support projects ensuring the follow-up on the outcomes of the Valletta Summit.

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development is a key player in the migration field. The organisation has 15 member states, including Portugal since 2002, and carries out activities throughout the world, also in Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides its mission in Brussels, ICMPD has project offices in 7 countries, including in Nigeria and Tunisia.

Founded in 1993, ICMPD served as a support mechanism for informal consultations and to provide expertise in multilateral cooperation on migration. The principles of partnership and balancing of interests are the foundation of the organisation.

More information about ICMPD’s work: 

Factsheet with frequently asked questions about ICMPD:    


To arrange an interview with ICMPD experts attending the meeting, please contact ICMPD’s Communications Officer Sonia Niżnik at or +43 676 714 7002.

To arrange an interview with representatives of Portugal, please contact Marília Neres, Head of the Press Unit at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, on or +351 966 940 601.